WRITE IT DOWN!
(a simple secret to success)
I don’t know if you have ever noticed this or not as you have read your Bible, but the command to “write” is used over and over again and the concept “write it down” is used multiple times by God Himself!
I did not grow up with a love for writing. In fact, I hated it. Why? Because it took concentration, effort, focus, discipline, and I did not understand the tremendous value in writing things down. It also did not fit my way of life. I was a free spirit, extremely fidgety, and restless. I did what I wanted, when I wanted to, and I didn’t want to take the time to sit and write things down! I was too busy living!
Then something incredible and amazing happened. In 1975 I gave my life completely to Jesus Christ, and God began working things in me I would have never imagined. God began to change my free spirit into a focused, driven, and disciplined spirit. God began to shape me from the inside out, and as I read my Bible, God began to imprint things on me and impart wisdom to me.
I observed that all the great things I was reading and learning were only because men had taken the time to write down the things God showed them and told them! As I read the Psalms I began to realize that David took the time to write his songs down, as I had been doing myself!
I observed that it was God Himself who wrote down The Ten Commandments, twice on stone tablets, and gave them to Moses! I observed that God commanded Moses to write down all the instructions God gave to him. (Ex. 34:27)
I observed how many times God commanded the Israelites to remember His miraculous deeds, to recount His wonders, and not forget what He had done for them! This is a direct inference that you better write them down or you will forget them!!
I was deeply struck by this passage in Psalm 107:43 (NLT), “Those who are wise will take all this to heart; they will see in our history the faithful love of the Lord“. Do you grasp what this is saying? It is telling us that when we look back on our history (our story), we will see revealed there the faithful love of God to us! How will you reflect on a history you did not write down?!?!?! The wise person writes their God stories down as the years go by for then they can see revealed through it all the faithful love of God to them!!
I observed the scripture in Proverbs that states, “the plans of the diligent lead to advantage“. I remembered the time I took a drafting class in school, that all buildings are laid out on paper as a detailed plan before they are ever built. As I learned to play the guitar and studied the book of chords I realized that someone took the time to write them down and create diagrams of the fingering that I could copy and learn.
I had an epiphany that is now backed up by scientific research and neurological science: Writing things down is one of life’s great secrets to success and achievement. Little by little I began to practice this simple, profound discipline.
Did you know that less than 3% of people write goals down? Did you know that 6 out of 10 people do not have a written financial budget plan? Did you know the vast majority of Christian parents do not have a family mission statement written down or have taken the time to write down their specific objectives for parenting their children, or their plan and strategy for raising and training their children?
Did you know study after study proves that you have a much, much greater chance of success when you write down your goals or plans or when you keep track of vital information? You will set yourself up for success and great achievements if you will begin today to write things down.
During the 32 years of my preaching and conference speaking, people’s comments to me revealed they loved the extemporaneous style of my preaching but did not grasp that my messages were written down. All of them. Yes in a simple style, not word for word, but the main points, concepts, and essence were there. I knew that writing it down would give me the focus I needed and make the most of the limited time I had. It would help that message be successful, impactful, and allow me to be extemporaneous within the framework I had written down.
I have watched my wife battle tremendous health issues and pain for the 41 years we have been married. It is a daily battle at times of overwhelming discouragement. Do you know her great secret for overcoming discouragement and her sustained perseverance of the last 41 years? Every day Kathy writes verses, thoughts, and truths down in her journal. I have a stack of almost 20 journals of Kathy’s to prove it! It is remarkable. She has written down what God imprints on her heart and these have sustained her and kept her mind and emotions from falling apart. These thoughts were the food that fed her faith and kept it strong!!
My friends let me share with you some simple things you can write down that will help you achieve and succeed:
1. I have a simple, small notebook for both of our cars and our house. I keep a mechanical pencil in each notebook in the cars as they write well in hot or cold temps. I write down every maintenance item and repair, the date, the mileage, the cost, and where the work was done. This way I never, ever lose track of what I have done to the car or how much it costs. Since I bought our home in Jan. of 2000, I have the same simple notebook on my desk. I keep track of every house expense, repair, appliance purchase, improvement, etc. with the date, brief description of item or repair, and the cost. I have it all right at my fingertips. The little notebooks cost me about a buck apiece.
2. I have a 6 column analysis pad and I write down our monthly budget every single month along with what I intend to save. I keep track of every single expense and simply write it down with a pencil. I have a specific goal I am shooting for, both short term and long term.
I know how much I am trying to spend on food and buy according to that plan. Both for financial reasons and health reasons. I know them both. If you don’t do this you will just spend money on food cause it looks good, appeals to your tastes and you will always overspend.
3. Health matters! I have a leather journal that I write down every several weeks my weight, as I weigh myself every single morning. This helps ensure that I don’t lie to myself or overindulge in food and before you know it I am ten pounds overweight. Weight is very, very hard to lose. I write down and keep track of my exercises and how many miles I walk. Each year I add them up and keep a cumulative total. This gives me an exact picture of what I achieved and gives me great encouragement.
4. I have a written plan for raising and training our children, complete with a mission statement and our objectives. This was essential for Kathy and me. It was our game plan with specific priorities for the most important investment in our lives! You can find it here, and use these downloadable, easy to understand notes to work through as a couple, to formulate your plan. There is also a message series to go along with it.
5. I have a leather journal for my Strong Disciple ministry work. I keep track of all the people I am praying for. All the men I am mentoring. I keep track of the running totals of subscribers, downloads of messages, pageviews of articles, and a written record of all things related to this ministry and work. I have also written down the special passages of scripture that God specifically spoke to me about starting this ministry work. I wrote down my exact plan for starting this ministry work.
6. I write down the blessings that God has bestowed upon me. I date each one and write briefly about them. I also write in that same leather journal a record of the great trials has God brought Kathy and me through. I write simple, dated, brief paragraphs about them so I remember what happened and what God brought us through! Writing all these down gives me a clear and accurate picture of reality and helps me keep my perspective and my mind straight. I see in my history the faithful love of the Lord!
7. I even use a permanent marker to put a date of purchase in my boots, jeans, jackets, equipment, etc. This lets me know exactly how long they are lasting and when I got them. It helps me to grasp the value of things.
God in His grace, wisdom, and His amazing, unmerited blessings has allowed me some successes and to achieve certain things in my life that would have never happened had I not written things down and prayed fervently over them. I know God wants to do the same thing with your life. I urge you to take this important step and write things down. If I can do this, I know without a doubt that each of you reading this can do this simple but profound thing. It will change your life and your outcomes.